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All You Must Know About Shoulder Replacement!

Written and reviewed by
MBBS, MS - Orthopaedics, Fellowship in Arthoplasty, Certificate of Clinical Fellowship in Joint Replacement
Orthopedic Doctor, Ahmedabad  •  19 years experience
All You Must Know About Shoulder Replacement!

A shoulder replacement surgery is performed when your shoulder is so seriously injured that it has to be changed for normal functioning to continue. This can happen when the shoulder joint comes out from the socket or completely detaches from the joint. It may also happen when the bones of the joints are so badly broken that they cannot function at all. Apart from bone fractures or sudden injuries, some diseases like crippling arthritis can require you to undergo this surgery. It should only be done if the condition cannot be fixed with the help of physiotherapy, exercise or medication first.

Types of shoulder replacement surgery 

There are several types of shoulder replacement surgery. They are-

  • Total replacement surgery - This occurs more often than the other types. The joint at the shoulder is a ball and socket joint, meaning a ball-like bone fits into a socket like joint. When the ball is destroyed, a new metal ball is fit into the socket in this type of surgery. The socket is covered with plastic then.
  • Partial replacement surgery - In this type of surgery, only the ball is operated upon.
  • Reverse replacement surgery - This happens when previous attempts at surgery have failed. In this procedure, an artificial metal ball is installed, and the socket is implanted artificially from an external source.

Things you can do before surgery to facilitate the process -

  • You should get diagnostic tests done well in advance, like X-rays and related imaging.
  • You should cut down on the level of your addictions, like smoking and drinking.
  • The doctor will ask you to reduce intake of certain medicines like painkillers.
  • You will need to change your daily routine a bit, like avoid putting a heavy strain on the shoulders or lifting weights.
  • You should ask a friend or relative to help you with daily tasks around the house, and for transport.

Shoulder replacement surgery can be a painful procedure if you are not acquainted well enough with your medical history, or do not choose the right surgeon. However, once you know your own requirements, and start following the pre-operative guidelines to make your surgery smoother, you can well expect no complications.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
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